YouTube Music makes video playback a Premium perk

YouTube is a name that's mostly associated with on-demand Internet videos, but it has also become Google's umbrella brand for its multimedia streaming service. The transition from Google Play Music to YouTube Music wasn't exactly the smoothest, and some features that may have been considered a staple of free tiers were walled behind subscriptions. That, however, is changing for users in Canada next month, but those free YouTube Music users will have to give up watching music videos there in exchange.

For a music streaming service meant to be enjoyed on a mobile device, YouTube Music has had a rather brain-dead limitation for free users. Radio-like ads interrupting the listening experience are pretty much expected, but YouTube Music would immediately stop playing when you navigated away from the app or if the phone timed out and locked its screen. Of course, you could pay to get that limitation lifted, but YouTube Music's rivals have been offering it for free for years.

The service announced earlier this month that its free tier would be changing in such a massive way starting November. But while free users will finally have access to background listening, something else has to give. After all, YouTube still needs people to upgrade to a Premium account.

The concession will be the ability to watch videos inside YouTube Music and its mobile app. That will now be part of the paid tier, along with the usual perks of ad-free listening, unlimited skips, and on-demand selection. Free users are directed towards the main YouTube app for music videos, but those do stop playing when you turn away from the app.

These changes will take place on November 3, 2021, but only for those in Canada. The global rollout schedule for these changes hasn't been announced yet, but hopefully, Google won't wait forever to make it happen.